Could Impact Carriers of Concealed Weapons Permits –
By Tiffani Ireland –
Two pieces of legislation currently making their way through the South Carolina Senate could have a major impact on those whose have concealed weapon permits. One bill seeks to expand the rights of those permit holders. The other could do away with concealed weapon permits altogether.
First introduced on Jan. 29, 2013, a bill known in the Senate as S308 would expand the rights of those who hold concealed weapon permits by allowing those holders to carry concealed weapons into restaurants which serve alcohol as long as the holder does not consume the alcohol and as long as carrying a concealed weapon is not specifically prohibited by the restaurant owner.
Sen. Shane Massey, who is a sponsor of this bill, spoke to The Advertiser regarding his support of this measure and said, “It makes good sense.” As he explained, “These [holders of concealed weapon permits] are the good guys. We know they’re the good guys … they have to have background checks.” He further said he does not support restricting the rights of those who have followed the laws regarding carrying firearms and that it makes sense to expand places where law abiding citizens can carry their weapons.
While he lends his support to S308, Sen. Massey said he was “concerned” about the second bill currently being worked on in the Senate. Informally called the Open Carry Bill, this legislation, which was introduced to the Senate on Jan. 8, 2013, is actually listed as S115 and titled the Constitutional Carry Act. If passed, one of the impacts of this bill would be to essentially do away with concealed weapon permits and allow anyone, with or without a permit, to carry a gun in South Carolina. “I don’t want mentally ill people and violent criminals carrying a weapon,” Sen. Massey said in explaining his concern over this bill. He added that he felt is was important that people who wished to carry firearms have background checks. “For me, law enforcement needs to know who the bad guys are,” Sen. Massey stated and said that permits help clarify that.
Interestingly, Sen. Massey, who has been holding numerous town hall meetings across his district, said the issue most discussed at every one of these meetings is gun legislation both at the state and federal levels. He said comments made at these meetings show that most people support background checks with many even favoring required training for the use of firearms.
S308 has passed from committee and is now expected to be debated by the full Senate as early as next week. The Open Carry Bill is currently being debated in sub-committee where it reportedly has received some changes. The Advertiser will continue to track theses bills as they make their way through the Senate.